Leadership changes made at Tanana Middle School
On Monday, April 15, Superintendent Karen Gaborik announced to Tanana staff, students, and families, that Annie Keep-Barnes would be acting principal of Tanana Middle School through the end of the school year.
“Annie is a long time educator and leader in our district, and I trust her ability to lead Tanana in a positive direction,” said Gaborik.
Mrs. Keep-Barnes will partner with assistant principal Carla Marquand, the school staff, parents and students to focus on growing a positive school community at Tanana. Also on April 15, Charles Scott, formerly the cultural liaison at West Valley High School, was transferred to Tanana for the remainder of the year. Mr. Scott is also a long-time educator and leader in the school district, having formerly served as principal of Lathrop High School.
“I have known Mr. Scott for 18 years and have huge respect for his ability to engage students as they develop social skills,” said Gaborik.
This leadership change was precipitated by conversation with the school community at two parent meetings held on April 10 and 11. School and district staff listened to parent feedback, and school board members were also in attendance.
Superintendent Karen Gaborik stated the following: “I appreciate the many voices and important input that was shared as we processed through the incidents that occurred on April 4. Not only did the school community provide feedback regarding the communication and response related to student safety, parents and staff also shared a great deal of insight regarding the culture of Tanana.”
On April 4, Tanana Middle School principal Jethro Jones received information that a threat against the school had been posted on a social media platform. Mr. Jones contacted the student who had made the post and called law enforcement and the student’s parents. Discipline was issued and the student was taken home by parents. Later, in a separate incident, another student was found to have a knife. The parents and law enforcement were called. Discipline was issued and the student was taken home by parents.
As the two incidents were occuring, a rumor began to circulate that a student had come to school with a gun with the intent to harm students. Some students expressed concerns that African American students specifically were going to be targeted. Of the two separate incidents that involved student discipline, neither involved a gun on school premises.
“After personally hearing feedback at the community forum on Ft. Wainwright on April 11 and reviewing feedback from the forum at Tanana on April 10, I’ve made some changes.” said Gaborik.
Mr. Jones has been reassigned to the district office while Mrs. Keep-Barnes will lead Tanana through the end of this school year.